We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriela Regino Malina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabriela, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
I am a naturopathic medical doctor, and I am licensed in the state of Arizona. Despite naturopathic medicine being widely accepted throughout the state of Arizona, there are still misconceptions about the profession. The primary misconception comes from not understanding our training, education and abilities. Naturopathic medical schools throughout the United States are accredited and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. There are currently 23 states and two U.S. territories that license naturopathic medical professionals. A typical naturopathic medical program includes four years of rigorous coursework, culminating in a doctoral degree. The first and second year of training consists of studying the basic medical sciences (i.e., biochemistry, physiology, anatomy and dissection, microbiology, genetics, pharmacology and pathophysiology) in conjunction with specific modalities unique to naturopathic medicine (i.e., Chinese medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy and nutritional and environmental medicine). The remaining two years of training consist of multiple clinical rotations taken along with specialized lectures covering all of the “ologies” (i.e., gastroenterology, dermatology, endocrinology, neurology). During the last two years, we learn pharmacological and naturopathic treatments for several diseases and disorders. Becoming a naturopathic doctor also requires sitting for a jurisprudence and a two-part licensure exam. Once licensed, naturopathic doctors are required to maintain continuing medical education. In the state of Arizona, naturopathic doctors can function as primary care providers and are able to interpret and order a variety of laboratory studies, diagnose, treat with prescription medications and/or naturopathic modalities, provide acupuncture, administer intravenous therapy and injection, and perform minor surgery.
Another misconception involves the perception that naturopathic doctors do not like, do not use, do not recommend, or are against prescription medications. This is not true. Prescription medications are part of our curriculum. We learn how to prescribe safely and use them in conjunction with naturopathic treatments (i.e., botanicals, vitamins, minerals, homeopathy or dietary interventions).
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My story begins in Brazil where I was born and raised. At the age of 18, I relocated to the United States to pursue higher education. My undergraduate education focused on health and human performance. My curiosity in these subjects fueled my passion to pursue a graduate education in exercise physiology that eventually led to a job as an exercise physiologist for the United States Air Force. I spent eight years working for the USAF where I had the privilege to assist active duty members and veterans by providing pre- and post-rehabilitation exercise therapy, nutritional counseling, wellness education and performance-based exercise training in a continuous effort to promote healthy living. I spent significant time researching how I could best assist the military members within the scope of my training. This strong desire for continuous learning and educating people about health, nutrition, and prevention of diseases served as the catalyst in my pursuit of naturopathic medicine.
I graduated in 2016 with a Doctor in Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. I remained in Arizona and completed post-graduate training in integrative endocrinology and family practice and taught pre-med courses at Grand Canyon University. Afterward, I practiced full-time in a naturopathic and integrative family medicine clinic in Chandler, Arizona. In September of 2020, I relocated to the U.S. Territory of Guam where I joined my husband while he serves as an active duty officer for the USAF. This was a pivotal point in my career as I transitioned from in-person to virtual appointments. This decision provided a more practical solution to deliver naturopathic care from wherever I am, while allowing my patients flexibility and continuity of care.
I faced many challenges throughout my life, including integrating into a new culture, perfecting a new language, changing careers, starting over and relocating several times. My discipline, commitment and perseverance helped me to overcome obstacles in pursuit of my goals. These are the same qualities that drive my naturopathic medical practice today. I am relentless in helping my patients. I strive to provide a broad and integrative approach to health and healing that can be transformative in my patients’ lives both physically and emotionally. I consider patients’ clinical individuality and variability and work with them to find precise solutions for the root causes of diseases.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live an active and healthy lifestyle and am an avid swimmer, so for those reasons we would go to the gym and the pool for a few sessions. We would enjoy eating out at T.C. Egginton’s for breakfast, Burger Rehab Therapy, Olive & Ivy for lunch or dinner. We would also grab some delicious tacos at Espo’s in Chandler. We would walk around Old Town Scottsdale, check out the shops and visit Sedona. But most importantly, my friend would not leave Phoenix without getting a protein shake at One Stop Nutrition and a nice protein bowl at The Original Chop Shop. Fortunately, I enjoy cooking and am very good at it, so we would enjoy nice home cooked meals as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to recognize Dr. Tim Francis. I met Dr. Francis when I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, while working for the Air Force as an exercise physiologist. As Dr. Francis guided me through my own health challenges, I expressed to him my desire to help others in the way he did. Specifically, I told him that naturopathic medicine was my calling, but I was afraid to leave everything behind. Dr. Francis did not hesitate to encourage me, “If it is your calling, you do not have a choice. You must pursue it.” He believed in me, told me I could do it and supported my dream. It has been almost 10 years since I left Las Vegas, and I continue to seek guidance from him.
Richard Brown at Shane Kreations https://www.facebook.com/ShaneKreations/